Under the title, Koreans Are Suckers for the Jarasum Winter Festival 내국인을 "호갱" 취급하는 자라섬 겨울축제, the Hankook Ilbo claimed that Korean visitors are upset about the local festival’s pricing policy as Korean nationals have to pay nearly five times as much as foreigners.
The paper claimed that foreigners only have to pay 8,000 won to receive 39,500 won worth of benefits, including the 13,000 won entrance fee for ice fishing; 7,000 won for snow sledding; 7,000 won for ice sledding; and 12,500 won for grilled trout (half portion).
The Hankook Ilbo argued that the discount is available to any foreigner even though the website of the winter festival states that the discount is given only when a group of foreigners make a reservation at least three days in advance.
Lee Jae-ho, a supervisor of the festival, refuted the claim that discounts are available to individual foreigners, saying the local daily’s article was exaggerated.
He said the discount is available for advanced group bookings with five or more foreigners and that most of the individual entrance fees, such as snow sledding is technically only 2,000 won because people get a 5,000 won worth of a voucher when paying 7,000 won.
“Individual items such as ice fishing and others also come with a 5,000 won voucher, so in reality, they are paying only 2,000 won. The entrance ticket for ice fishing is sold online at 12,000 won online and it also comes with a 5,000 won voucher,” he told The Korea Observer.
Lee hinted that many foreigners are paying more than what they would because of the group bookings.
“Many of them just take photos and enjoy the scenery rather than actually fishing,” Lee said, noting that the foreigner group discount is a promotion campaign that doesn’t run at the expense of Korean nationals’ spending.
Another official said this should not be a big issue because promotional information on these discounts is in Korean and he believes very few foreigners will be able to read it.
The festival’s website is only in Korean.